Nothing brings a community of players like a balance board to their favorite numbers game, right? This is what Blizzard’s new 1.1.0 does Diablo IV Players, and the chorus you sing in unison with the hardcore players is a tantrum.
But here’s the thing: Blizzard really did mess things up at a very inopportune time.
Diablo IV Update 1.1.0 dropped yesterday, just two days before the game’s first seasonal content drop began, file malignant seasonAnd Which will make players start new characters to run through a new mission line and unique battle pass. but inside Verbose debug notes There have been a slew of changes that have significantly destabilized the effectiveness of several popular character builds (for example, reducing damage output), as well as tweaks to the difficulty curve and bonus system that make the endgame more challenging.
Mods include overall power nerfs for all character classes thanks to reduced critical hit damage, vulnerability damage, cooldown reduction bonuses, experience bonuses for killing higher level enemies (which also hinders players ability to boost lower level friends) and more. the Builds the letter S-class Barbarians using the Hammer of the Ancients, Necromancers using Bone Spear, Druids using Werewolf Shred, and Wizards using Ice Shards all took huge hits to damage output. In addition to the character drop, the Helltide event which can be very lucrative for skilled and high-level players hunting legendary and unique items now has harder enemies and bonus chests that cost more resources (RIP to one of the most fun parts of the game).
There’s more to the baggage in the patch notes, which contain some built-in developer notes that range from expressing concern about game balancing to outright advocating that good players are too good for Blizzard to satisfy.
Predictably, this triggered players who felt overnight that their characters were less powerful and the game hindered their progress on higher difficulties. There are many Reddit posts expressing people’s disdain for the changes, not surprisingly as Metacritic user result for Diablo IV It quickly dropped to 3.6 from 10 in just one day. But the excitement has reached a high enough point for Blizzard’s director of global community development DiabloAdam Fletcher announced on Twitter that Blizzard will be hosting a Campfire chat broadcast on Friday to explain the changes. (I’m sure the Twitch chat would be completely civil.)
As much as the indignation of some ARPG players can make you feel upset, I’ve also been working through my feelings about these changes to Diablo IV. I signed up for the post-patch last night to do some small side quests with the level 61 Bone Spear Necro, and I was surprised at how hard the time I had was with a very basic dungeon in the world map. Sure, I’ve been playing on World Tier IV (Torment), which is the highest difficulty level, but I’ve been progressing for days to a point where I can level up there if I’m careful – which makes the post-campaign progression loop feel more open, with the slow drip of getting to higher levels of items and more experience. But I learned once (before I was even aware of the changes to the patch) that my now-crazy ass is going all the way down to the third world difficulty (Nightmare).
My bones are spears! Look how they slayed my beautiful spear!
It’s annoying when you feel like so much of the progress you’ve made over dozens of hours has just evaporated. I don’t think all changes are a bad idea because when all the better builds make damage weak which is necessary to maximize it, it can mean that feature is a little broken. But making a game seem artificially longer at the end of a game is a bit like just getting the hang of running on a treadmill while someone else quietly picks up the pace to try to fall. I’m well aware of the necessary evil of game balancing and how a live service game will inevitably descend and flow on what builds du jour, but it gets tricky if doing so also gets in the way of a lot of people’s fun.
Perhaps jumping into a new character with tomorrow’s insidious season might ease the sting, because starting at level one again might send you back into an endorphin-rich feedback loop of pursuit and leveling. At least until the time comes for more patches to cut people down unexpectedly, build them back up, or (hopefully) put the fun back into the Helltides.
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